The UK Government has revealed new climate change commitments that will see the country cut carbon emissions by 78% by 2035.
The cuts will be made in the sixth Carbon Budget, which will limit the volume of greenhouse gases emitted over a five-year period from 2033 to 2037. The carbon emissions target builds on the current target of 68% based on 1990 levels by 2030.
For the UK, the ultimate goal is to reach net zero emissions by 2050.
To meet these commitments, the government will make them legally binding under the sixth Carbon Budget, which is expected to come into force in June. This will extend climate laws to cover international aviation and shipping for the first time.
The new goals were based on advice from the government’s independent Climate Change Committee (CCC). The new target will fulfil the government’s legal obligations under the 2008 Climate Change Act, which requires governments to set out five-year carbon budgets that go beyond the current parliament.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “We want to continue to raise the bar on tackling climate change, and that’s why we’re setting the most ambitious target to cut emissions in the world.
“The UK will be home to pioneering businesses, new technologies and green innovation as we make progress to net zero emissions, laying the foundations for decades of economic growth in a way that creates thousands of jobs.
“We want to see world leaders follow our lead and match our ambition in the run up to the crucial climate summit COP26, as we will only build back greener and protect our planet if we come together to take action.”
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With the UN’s COP26 climate talks to be held in Glasgow in November of this year, governments will be asked to describe their plans to cut carbon emission over the next decade. The new UK targets are among the most ambitious put forth by developed nations.
According to the government, the new Carbon Budget will ensure the UK meets its climate change commitments under the Paris Agreement, which aims to limit global warming to below 2°C.
However, opposition party Labour has criticised the targets for not being backed by concrete policies. Shadow Business Secretary Ed Miliband said: “The character of this government on climate change is now clear: targets without delivery.
“So while any strengthening of our targets is the right thing to do, the government can’t be trusted to match rhetoric with reality. Ministers have failed to bring forward an ambitious green recovery. We need a government that treats the climate emergency as the emergency it is.”
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